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Help solve a weather mystery

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:55 PM GMT on November 17, 2006

The second in the series of Dr. Masters' vacation blogs.

Help solve a weather mystery

I'm often asked why it is that the Hurricane Hunters are unafraid to fly in extreme Category 5 hurricanes with 200 mph winds, but refuse to fly in garden variety thunderstorms with winds of perhaps 30 mph. Well, airplanes don't care about wind, as long as it's all moving the same direction at the same speed (i.e., there is no wind shear). Granted, some hurricanes have outrageous wind shear that creates severe turbulence capable of damaging the airplane. However, threats of this nature pale in comparison to the chief hazard of flying into thunderstorms--hail. Even small hail poses a significant threat to airplanes. Hurricanes rarely have hail, except at high altitudes in some of the stronger storms. On a mission I flew into Category 3 Hurricane Emily of 1987, one of our airplanes encountered pea-sized hail in the eyewall at 18,000 feet, and the ice scoured off the airplane's paint job in some places. More seriously, hail damaged two of the engines, causing oil leaks that forced the airplane to abort the mission after a record 34 penetrations of the hurricane's eyewall.

Large hail can seriously damage an airplane, as seen in the incredible photos below. These origin of these photos is unknown, but they have been circulating on the Internet for a few months. Presumably, they were taken on August 10, 2006, but no one knows where. If you can shed some light on this mystery, drop flightglobal.com and myself an email.





Armored T-28 hail research aircraft retires
Speaking of hail and airplanes, the world's only aircraft equipped to safely to fly into mature thunderstorms, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology's armored T-28, is being retired this year after over 900 penetrations of thunderstorms and 37 years of service. The famed aircraft, which has survived updrafts as strong as 115 mph, 2-inch hail, and numerous lightning strikes, will go on display at the Strategic Air and Space Museum at Ashland, Nebraska. The National Science Foundation has requested to the Pentagon that a two-engine A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft be made available as a replacement. A two engine hail penetration aircraft is a good idea! I spoke with one of the pilots of the T-28 back in 1987, during a thunderstorm research program I was involved with. The pilot told me that he had done several "dead stick" landings on highways after lightning strikes had knocked out power to the single engine of the T-28.

Here's the specs on the special modifications the T-28 aircraft had, taken from the web site above:

The leading edges of the wings and tail surfaces are covered with 2.29 mm (0.090 inch) 2024T4 heat-treated aluminum sheets formed to fit and bonded to the existing wing and tail surfaces. The tops of the wings are covered with 0.81 mm (0.032 inch) sheets of the same material. The leading edges of the cowling are covered with an additional sheet of fitted 3.18 mm (0.125 inch) aluminum. This armor plating adds about 318 kg (700 lb) to the aircraft weight.

The carburetor is protected from ingestion of large hailstones by the addition of a metal grate to the air intake to break up the hailstones prior to entry. A similar device was installed over the oil cooler intake to prevent damage to the relatively fragile oil radiator.

The canopy also required substantial modification since the standard Plexiglas bubble canopy was much too weak to withstand encounters with large hail. The windshield was replaced with flat sheets of 1.91 cm (0.75 inch) stretched acrylic and the side panels were made of flat sections of 1.52 cm (0.60 inch) stretched acrylic. The windshield and the leading-edge armor were tested to withstand 7.6-cm diameter hail at penetration velocities by firing ice balls from a specially-built hail "cannon" at test sections of the aircraft.


Figure 1. The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology's armored T-28 weather research aircraft. Photo taken by Jeff Masters in June, 1987 in Huntsville, Alabama during T. Theodore Fujita's Microburst and Severe Thunderstorm (MIST) field program.

Jeff Masters

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Viewing: 394 - 344

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394. Patrap
6:39 PM CST on November 19, 2006
We have a Blog directory.Post an entry there.And watch the world beat a line to your blog and save the world there.Not here.We tire of it..please.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
392. Patrap
6:38 PM CST on November 19, 2006
I believe your aimless ramblings cause global warming.The amount of food cooked in your home alone to feed that Keyboard finger and run your Brain Housing group is a waste of fine Electricity and gas.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
391. Patrap
6:36 PM CST on November 19, 2006
Tunnels ,Thrust bearings?..all I ever hear from CB is how things work...But hes clueless as to why we Blog here.WHat does CB expect the world to do.Turn everything off and listen to His Deleriums?..LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
389. ricderr
12:35 AM GMT on November 20, 2006
cyc...i'll spend all day in email with you..i won't respond to you again on the dr's blog......i thought you were young..someone tht had a brain...now..i pity you...enjoy your day
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 688 Comments: 23841
388. Patrap
6:34 PM CST on November 19, 2006
Who gives a crap?..LOL.W T hell does a thrust bearing have to do with weather?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
387. Tazmanian
4:33 PM PST on November 19, 2006
Super Typhoon Wilma
On October 26, ten people were lost when a USAF WB-29 disappeared during a flight into the typhoon.[1]
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5100 Comments: 117327
385. Wishcasterboy
12:33 AM GMT on November 20, 2006
Such intensity is speculative.
384. Patrap
6:31 PM CST on November 19, 2006
i
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
383. Tazmanian
4:31 PM PST on November 19, 2006
wow 215mph now thats a cat 6
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5100 Comments: 117327
381. Tazmanian
4:29 PM PST on November 19, 2006
Super Typhoon Nancy
Main article: Typhoon Nancy (1961)

Nancy radar image and storm path
Tropical Storm Nancy, having developed on September 7 in the open West Pacific, rapidly intensified to reach super typhoon status early on the 9th. Nancy continued to strengthen, and reached peak winds of 215 mph on the 12th. Such intensity is speculative, as Reconnaissance Aircraft was in its infancy and most intensities were estimates. Furthermore, later analysis indicated that equipment likely overestimated Nancy's wind speed; if the measurements were correct, Nancy would have had the highest wind speeds of any tropical cyclone by 25 mph. Regardless, Nancy was a formidable typhoon, and retained super typhoon status until the 14th as it neared Okinawa. The typhoon turned to the northeast, and made landfall on southern Japan on the 16th with winds of 100 mph. It continued rapidly northeastward, and became extratropical on the 17th in the Sea of Okhotsk. Well executed warnings lessened Nancy's potential major impact, but the typhoon still caused 172 fatalities and widespread damage.


[edit] Typhoon Pamela
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5100 Comments: 117327
380. ricderr
12:29 AM GMT on November 20, 2006
cyc...hold on here...you just made me sick..you're aan adult?...
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 688 Comments: 23841
379. Wishcasterboy
12:28 AM GMT on November 20, 2006
Posted By: LowerCal at 12:27 AM GMT on November 20, 2006.

Cowboy?


I think it's one of Rand's many private jokes.
378. Patrap
6:28 PM CST on November 19, 2006
Ok Trebek!.I'll take "The rapist for 500!"..Thats "therapist" Connery...not the rapist!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
376. ricderr
12:28 AM GMT on November 20, 2006
wishcaster....what did i email you the common name was?
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 688 Comments: 23841
375. Tazmanian
4:27 PM PST on November 19, 2006
and wow it had 215mph winds with it
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5100 Comments: 117327
373. LowerCal
4:26 PM PST on November 19, 2006
Cowboy, Rand?
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372. ricderr
12:26 AM GMT on November 20, 2006
cyc........i'd ask you once again to elaboratee..but i'd rather you just shut up.....so..you e-mail me your elaboration...i email you your answer
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 688 Comments: 23841
371. Patrap
6:26 PM CST on November 19, 2006
were a Game show now?..LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
370. Wishcasterboy
12:25 AM GMT on November 20, 2006
Typhoon Nancy, this one is especially dear to me.
368. Tazmanian
4:20 PM PST on November 19, 2006
name that track
lol
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5100 Comments: 117327
367. Wishcasterboy
12:22 AM GMT on November 20, 2006
Wondeful to have Cal on the blog tonight!
366. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
12:19 AM GMT on November 20, 2006
wow Monica started in the Fiji region just like 92P is currently.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
365. Wishcasterboy
12:21 AM GMT on November 20, 2006
Join the family Buster!
364. LowerCal
4:20 PM PST on November 19, 2006
It's official, the potential that is.

From the 400 PM PST East Pacific Tropical Weather Outlook

CLOUDINESS AND SHOWERS ASSOCIATED WITH A LOW PRESSURE AREA CENTERED
ABOUT 850 MILES SOUTH-SOUTHWEST OF THE SOUTHERN TIP OF BAJA
CALIFORNIA HAVE NOT BECOME ANY BETTER ORGANIZED OVER THE PAST
SEVERAL HOURS. HOWEVER...THIS SYSTEM HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BECOME A
TROPICAL DEPRESSION WITHIN THE NEXT DAY OR TWO
AS IT REMAINS NEARLY
STATIONARY.

The low (97E) is lower left while Sergio is at upper right. current image or current loop


moonlightcowboy it looks suspiciously like
xx
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
363. Wishcasterboy
12:19 AM GMT on November 20, 2006
I think that track is a little wrong. Monica did not form that close too the equator.
361. Tazmanian
4:20 PM PST on November 19, 2006
wow wishboy
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5100 Comments: 117327
360. Tazmanian
4:19 PM PST on November 19, 2006
Wishcasterboy thats and old one where is it?
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5100 Comments: 117327
358. Wishcasterboy
12:18 AM GMT on November 20, 2006
Cyclone Monica!
357. Wishcasterboy
12:17 AM GMT on November 20, 2006
Honestly Rand, your much older than me and should be more willing to end this then I am.
356. Tazmanian
4:14 PM PST on November 19, 2006
name that track

lol
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5100 Comments: 117327
353. Wishcasterboy
12:16 AM GMT on November 20, 2006


Heres an easy one.
352. Tazmanian
4:13 PM PST on November 19, 2006
ok wisboy i find a new one for you
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5100 Comments: 117327
351. Wishcasterboy
12:12 AM GMT on November 20, 2006
Randy I've decided all this fighting is going to get us nowhere. I'm willing too flash the white flag if you are!
350. Tazmanian
4:12 PM PST on November 19, 2006
: Randrewl what are U talking about?
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5100 Comments: 117327
349. Tazmanian
4:11 PM PST on November 19, 2006
Wishcasterboy yes you are good wow
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5100 Comments: 117327
347. Wishcasterboy
12:10 AM GMT on November 20, 2006
Oh hi Randy, I though I smelled something!
346. ricderr
12:10 AM GMT on November 20, 2006
cyc...elaborate..and i'll answer any question
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 688 Comments: 23841

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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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